There are over 1.5 billion websites on the internet today. Customers are now shopping online for most items which skyrocketed during the pandemic; 55% of people at least search the business online to look for reviews before buying anything from the store. It is undeniable that online presence is critical in customer acquisition and retention. Having a digital store, in addition to your brick-and-mortar shop, can increase sales dramatically as there is a much bigger customer base a brand can reach online.

But online businesses have their own challenges. Because it’s easier to reach a wider audience, the competition is fierce. A physical store can claim steady and superior presence to attract foot traffic by occupying store space in prime locations. That doesn’t exist in online real estate. Thus, getting the customers attention well enough and long enough to lure them to your website and providing smooth digital storefront experience on the website to convert visitors into paying customers is no easy feat.

So how can you compete in the fluid, fast-changing online markets?

1. Differentiate with Marketing

Now there are so many avenues available to advertise a brand to customers during their online activities. Such opportunities actually can make marketing decisions difficult as the brand needs to determine where they should invest their limited marketing dollars to reach the highest number of target customers, the ones that are most likely going to like your brand and products.

Marketing strategy is not just about deciding on the location of the ads. It also includes messaging, campaigns, and sponsorships which all contribute to customer acquisition. Having a cohesive marketing strategy across all platforms (e.g., social media, Google,Yelp, ads on another website) requires knowledge and techniques. You don’t need to be a marketing whiz to develop a winning strategy. You can do it with some education in digital marketing and through trials and errors.

2. Win Customers Over with Micro Rewards

Customer loyalty is more challenging online. More players mean more competition and customers will simply flock to whichever brand offers the best value for money. Micro rewards have been gaining popularity amongst brands especially in their customer acquisition and retention efforts. Micro rewards are one-off deals offered to encourage website visits and purchases.

A brand could offer a 10% off deal to new customers who are given a code upon signing up. It could also provide free deliveries or discounts to loyal customers for a short period of time. There are so many ways a brand can offer micro rewards to its customers; they can get as creative as they’d like. If utilised correctly, micro rewards can help differentiate your brand and build strong customer loyalty. Building the kind of customer interactions with positive emotions that are easier to create in in-store interactions can be mimicked online without human intervention with the right loyalty strategy.

3. Expand Through Partnerships

The only way to win in the online market is by becoming constantly visible to target customers wherever they are. This is hard to do. Having a sister site or partner who serves or engages with a similar target customer base can be mutually helpful in driving traffic to your combined sites. Partnering with other brands also allows for you to expand the product lines much faster and diversify your revenue streams.

Partnerships with social media influencers (normally require small budget) can also help you deliver the brand message to your target customers. An influencer has their own brand and attracts certain types of followers. Thus, it won’t be difficult to find one that attracts the types of followers with whom the brand will resonate the best. For influencers, recommending products their followers will like only enhances their credibility and popularity. So it is a truly symbiotic relationship.

Engaging with nonprofits and associating your brand with a valuable cause could also be a good way to promote your brand and raise the brand value by forging emotional connections and demonstrating the philosophical beliefs your brand holds. People respect and support businesses which take their corporate social responsibilities seriously.

The most important thing with marketing is to find out where your customers are and target your campaigns and partnerships accordingly. This will save you time and give you a greater return on investment.